Floridians are obsessed with the novelty of food trucks. Over the past 10 years, this craze has proven to be more than just a temporary trend emerging in local communities. With the ever-growing art and brewing culture, it is only natural that having good food options would complement the events. What started as holiday or weekend festivities has turned into a daily offering of great new experiences for locals, whether they are going out on a first date, or organizing a meet-up with friends.
What were once known as “roach coaches” have become some of the most sought-out food eateries in major cities. If you’re looking to start your own small business – and you don’t want to go the traditional office or storefront route – then you might consider starting a food cart or food truck.
But while this business type is fun to run, it’s no easy task. Some of the most successful owners report 60-hour work weeks. The rewards, however, can be great – from media attention and social media fans who swarm when you arrive, to the satisfaction that you’re providing a decent meal to the hungry.
If these goals and working style draw your attention, consider this ten-step plan for food truck success.
Nothing’s simple in the small business world, and you can’t just drive a food truck or set up a cart wherever you’d like. Cities have various requirements, including health department certificates, truck permits, and parking restrictions. Every city has its own policies, so contact your local government to get the facts.
Be prepared for obstacles. Some cities put a cap on the number of truck permits that they will issue. If they’re maxed out, you’ll be on a long waiting list since some permits don’t expire for 15 years. Other communities don’t allow food carts or trucks to park in public space; you’ll have to find private parking with access to a crowded area, which is a very difficult task. Once you’ve figured out how to get the licenses and permits you need, it will be smoother sailing. Check out some of the legal requirements for Florida here.
Truck or Cart?
If your funding is tight, then a food cart may be the best place to start. You should be able to find a cart for about $2,000, which is much more affordable than the $100,000 that it takes to buy a new food truck.
Why are they so expensive? Health departments have the same rules for food trucks as they do for restaurants, so your vehicle will need expensive specialty equipment. If you want to get a truck without shelling out the six-figure cost, you can probably find a fully prepared used truck between $20,000 and $40,000. Check online sites like UsedVending.com or CommercialTruckTrader.com to find good deals on used trucks in your area.
Before settling on a truck or cart, plan out exactly what you’ll need to run your business. If you intend to sell pizza or other hot foods that you’ll need to prepare on-site, you’ll need a large truck. If, on the other hand, you can prepare food in advance in your home or commercial kitchen, then you can just keep your wares warm in a cart or smaller truck. Picture the hot dog vendors who keep their dogs warm in their sidewalk carts. Because this will be the largest expense in your new business, you need to get it right. After all, you don’t want to spend $40,000 on a truck when you can do just as well with a $2,000 cart.
Choose a Niche
To run a successful food truck business, you may want to forget about tacos and cold sandwiches. The most well known and loved food trucks serve gourmet cuisine, delicacies from other countries, healthy foods, and artisan desserts like unique cupcakes and exclusive chocolates.
Do your research to find out what popular food trucks already exist in your local area, what types of food are oversaturated, and dream up an appealing concept that is sorely needed in your community.
If you have the dream and decent credit, Small Business Loans and No Doc Loans are available to you. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge you need and the resources available to make your dream a reality. Give us a call – we have the education and the perspective to help you obtain the loans you need for your small business. Visit our website or give us a call to find out what financial backing is available to make your business soar!
Create a Business Plan
As with any other business, you’ll need to dedicate time and research to your business plan. Once you have your loan squared away, research the costs of permits, cleaning equipment, ingredients, and other costs, and figure out how much you’ll need to sell every month to make a profit. If this is your first time writing a business plan, take a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s basic tips. Remember that the better planning you can present, the better your chances are for getting the best financing to start your small business.
Your mobile business will require some major insurance costs. Think about the risks involved with a business that is moving around from location to location. Talk with an agent, and describe exactly what purpose the truck will serve. Depending on the equipment needed to create and serve your patrons, these details will factor into the type of insurance you will require.
Where to Park
If you are planning to go big and get a truck instead of a cart, you’ll quickly find that there can be some issues when it comes to parking. Consider if your neighborhood association let you park it in front of your home. If you have off-street parking, will it be safe overnight with all your equipment? Some health departments require that vendors park only in approved facilities with refrigeration and electricity. You may be able to rent a private parking space so you’ll be sure to have a place to go that’s safe and legal. Do your research to discover what guidelines to follow for your area.
The food truck business isn’t just about setting up in crowded areas during lunch. Many vendors also generate brisk business by catering special events and corporate functions. Event planners will pay you to be on their property during an event so the attendees will have access to good food and a high-profile brand name.
Join local associations and organizations that cater to business owners in your community, like the Chamber of Commerce. Use your networking skills to meet the people who can pass along your name as a recommended caterer.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Social Media is the best way to generate a buzz around your business. People love to check in to the places they are visiting and food trucks are no different. Many trucks utilize Twitter and Instagram to announce where they will be appearing, and the greater your following, the more patrons will seek you out to experience more of the goodness you serve. Create a catchy hashtag that satisfied customers can use to tag the photos they will snap of your yummy offerings. Happy customers will do the marketing for you!
Once you’ve built up your following and your brand has taken off, start thinking about merchandising. You can sell t-shirts and promotional items online and in person. The bigger your brand and the more unique your idea is, the more willing your customers will be when it comes to advertising for you by wearing a cool sweatshirt or hat. In addition, once you have some recognition, you’ll be able to approach local grocers and coffee shops about selling your food in their shops.
Florida, the Time is NOW
With the opportunities for small businesses booming, why wait another moment. What is keeping you down? Financial restraints have been a complaint for many of the dreamers, limiting themselves to their immediate funds. There is an alternative. If you have the dreams and decent credit, Small Business Loans and No Doc Loans are available to you. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge you need and the resources available to make your dream a reality. Give us a call – we have the education and the perspective to help you obtain the loans you need for your small business. Visit our website or give us a call to find out what financial backing is available to make your business soar!
Unsecured Finances has over 10 years in the consulting business! We specialized in educating and assisting clients on acquiring Unsecured Business Loans and Start-Up Business Specialty Loans including; Unsecured No Documentation (No-Doc Stated Income) Loans, Unsecured Business Loans, and Unsecured Start-Up Business Loans and Lines of Credit from $10,000 to $500,000 without Assets.
Apply on our website to find out if you qualify, or call today for a free consultation: 1-888-294-2584